Is it fair to believe Halo Infinite has had reduced crunch development?

Now before you all jump down my throat, I know for certain the game has had crunch and is likely going through it right now. A few things have me hopeful though, that the crunch on this game wasn’t nearly as bad as previous Halo titles and many AAA games.

One of which is a quote from Bonnie Ross early last year:

“That’s why we’ve taken a bit more time—usually it’s three years between every Halo—to really do the investment in the engine and the tools and pipeline, and we’re still working on it,” Ross said. “But we showed it at E3 last year, and it is basically trying to create an environment that we can build the game better, faster, and ideally, you know, prevent crunch. I think there will always be with any game, I think there will be times where we need to work longer hours. But I think that we need to be really deliberate with that because it’s not fair to the team, and the team doesn’t want to do it. And so we’re trying to work out how do we create the best environment to hopefully mitigate that.”

She even used the words “crisis” in regards to Halo 5’s development crunch and it looks like the team was committed to preventing that from happening again.

This quote along with the extra two years of development has made me hopeful for the developers health and work style, but it wasn’t until I saw the infinite demo that I truly started to believe her words. We’ve all heard about the horrors of E3 vertical slices, with developers crunching to extreme deadlines and others creating the slice before even creating the game. Halo 2’s infamous E3 demo comes to mind.

With Infinite’s demo, it seemed to me that while it was clearly still planned, rehearsed, and polished as much as they could, it was also completely, well believable. Watching the demo I knew I was watching a game in development and not a vertical slice that would be wildly different from the end product (a la Anthem).

I know this is probably just me being naïve, and I’m sure, like most game development, the devs have gone through brutal work periods, but I do believe that the extra two years and the apparent commitment by leadership has helped reduce the crunch for Halo Infinite.


I’d say after the comments they got received from the game play demo they’re going to working non-stop from now until launch.

I’m very interested to see what they show next knowing all eyes will be on them x100000

It is personally hard for me to believe they aren’t crunching right now but MAYBE the game launches as an early access and is missing features to ensure employees are not being over worked

Well we know they had multiple first party studios chipping in to help out so fair to say crunch was kept to a minimum

Oh I have no doubt at all these next few months are going to be crunch heavy. Especially as they likely refuse to delay the game (which would lead to more crunch anyway).

But crunching for 3 months is still a whole lot better than two years.

Between the unfinished state of the game and comments from former 343i members in the video below, I’d say they are probably crunching harder now than before. Maybe last year, before COVID, they expected things to go smoother but the signs don’t really point to a smooth development. I believe Bonnie has the best intentions at heart and is a great person to lead a studio, but I don’t expect any higher up of a company to publicly admit issues behind the scenes. It’s one thing where the issues are very much public, like the XBO launch, where execs can express their thoughts on those problems but it’s entirely different where the issues are not publicly known.

I hope the benefit of launching Halo Infinite as a service is that 343 employees are not over worked to ensure that all of the things they want to accomplish are fit into a normal 2 year post launch support plan. They’ll hopefully have a decade to make this game the perfect Halo game and not have to worry about working on Halo “7”

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Aye, for certain they’re in full crunch mode right now, but that’s also kind of the nature of deadline based projects. The months or weeks leading up to release are going to be hell. I’m more so hoping the previous 4 and a half years were as crunch less as they could be.

As for the youtube video, I can’t really take anything this youtuber says seriously. Not to mention using glass door isn’t really the most accurate.

I do think Infinite has had development issues though. That’s a series staple. I’m not sure if even a single halo game didn’t go through some kind of problems.

No its not fair to believe that , we’d have to interview the employees their off the record

There’s not one Halo that hasn’t had devemoplement issues… Not one. Halo lives on a different standard than every other game out there where it’s literally now expected to have 3 big games (SP,MP, Forge) in one package at an alarming rate. Getting all of that together is no small feet. So that’s what I’ll say about the development.

In regards to the crunch… Every software company has crunch at some point. It’s deadline time, so Yea. As @ShpeshalEd stated, with other teams pitching in, that can reduce crunch as you have more people spreading out the work. There’s also a software dev “thing” that when you increase more people to a project, it doesn’t necessarily help you go faster as you gotta get those people on boarded. But it can help you… And obviously it depends on what they intend to deliver at launch. I think it’s fine.

Agree. While I admire the effort by Bonnie Ross on this subject, we don’t know if she actually achieved the goal she set out to achieve.

I’m sure Jason Schreier will report on this in the future… lol.

This part is probably true. A few months ago Spencer said that Series X could potentially launch without Halo if necessary. Then a few weeks later we heard that Infinite was still on track. I’m pretty sure that a part of the reason why was the management telling 343i that they don’t have to prepare a traditional vertical slice E3 demo, urging them to concentrate on finishing the actual game instead. Now, whether there’s been any crunch and whether they’re crunching right now, the answer to both of those is most likely yes. I just hope that MS will still allow them to delay the release if 343i decide that such a delay would be needed.

My concern, and why the term GaaS has earned such a bad name, is that they are going to rely on Halo being a platform to launch it in an unfinished state. Launch now and add to or fix later has happened far too often this generation and I don’t think it should happen with Halo Infinite considering this is supposed to be the title many are hoping 343i get right. It was one of the major complaints with Halo 5 and I don’t think it’s something they should repeat here.

I watch him every once in a while and he usually has a pretty level headed view on things. Is there something he’s said in the past that makes him less than credible?

I also agree that glass door isn’t always 100% accurate, but having multiple reports say similar things raises a red flag IMO. Despite them calling Slipspace a new engine, it most likely isn’t. Every company that says they built a new engine almost always actually uses a overhauled version of their previous engine. The fact that they need to create four SKUs, on top of a PC version, and we haven’t seen anything on console adds to the evidence that things probably aren’t going so smoothly in the background.

I’m sorry but just because every Halo game has run into issues or that crunch is so common in this industry, I don’t think we should find these things acceptable. Granted there isn’t anything that can be done with the development troubles 343i may have faced or continue to face with Infinite, but I think we should be actively calling for a delay so that the developers don’t have to face so much pressure and crunch. The Series X will sell out just fine without it at launch and if they think a successful launch relies on one game, they did something wrong with their launch plans. I just really hate the idea of unnecessary crunch.

My point is that in software development period there is a “crunch” period when you are closer to release and you are testing stuff and iterating very quickly and you have some longer hours, I’ve personally gone through this and I have an awesome work life. It’s just not as LONG as some of the stories you hear in game development.

My point about development issues is that it is common, don’t know if I had a “smooth” development cycle when trying to launch something. There’s bugs, issues that you find along the way, designs may change. It’s also a creative process which adds complexity because you think your idea was good but it seems that it may not be and you gotta get it right. A design document can only get you but so far.

I personally think that if they aren’t crunching, they should release what they have as long as it is good. Some people want delays so that they can have the package that they want day one, you can and most likely what they are doing is removing features for day one and will work on them post launch which is a normal software development thing. Especially with them saying it’s a platform, they don’t need to crunch, just have a stable release, make your date and you will be fine. I think that the community should be understanding of that.

I get that some level of crunch is almost always necessary, my concern is that it may be on the bad end of that spectrum. I also understand that cutting features and content is normal in game development. It’s often even healthy to the end product or else the studio risks falling into feature creep. However there are certain expectations when it comes to launching a Halo game and I don’t think the community will be understanding if those expectations aren’t met. I think people would be more understanding of a delay than the studio relying on the “platform” excuse to have things missing at launch. We already see prominent members of the Halo community voicing concern over their lack of commitment to being feature complete at launch and expectations of features like Forge, theater mode, content sharing, etc. being features the Halo community expect at launch. I think Cyberpunk is the perfect example of how the gaming community is more than understanding of a delay as long as they think it’ll be worth it in the end. Unfortunately 343i hasn’t earned the same reputation as CDPR, partly because they have had so many missing features that have since been standard at a Halo launch. Repeating this mistake wouldn’t do the studio, or the game, any favors. They could delay the game until spring and it would still launch within MS’ fiscal year while also giving the studio the time to add these potentially missing features for launch. It would be win, win all around.

Also considering how little we’ve seen of the game, it’s pretty safe to say development has not been as smooth as I’m sure they’d like.

That’s my point from my first post, everyone expects a bunch of content out of Halo at launch, and it’s more than any other game out there. What should be the norm is them releasing when they want to release and iterate and maybe you get the feature you want or maybe you don’t at launch. As you said, they could launch in spring and have everything… Is that not the same for the user? Let’s say the SP and MP are done but forge isn’t… Should the people who mainly play SP or MP wait for Forge to be finished (even though the majority of people dont play it). Even with BTB, even though I think it should be there at launch and I think it will be, I don’t think it being delayed will hurt the game as much as you think it may. What should be done is a playable SP and MP title and enough content to hold those users down until they release the next portion. Delaying should only happen if you as a developer think that it’s a shippable product worthy of its name. You can’t and WONT please everyone. I’ve seen youtubers complain about the smallest of things to me so if I were them I wouldn’t worry too much about the minutia of people and look at it from the bigger picture.

You’re right, they can’t please everyone but they should be trying to please as much of the Halo community as possible. If they don’t launch with a feature like Forge, they are essentially telling those people they don’t matter as much. Intentionally or not, that’s not a good look. You only get one chance to make a first impression, this goes for people who are there day one no matter what, people on the fence, and even those who don’t have it on their radar. People will pay attention to reviews and especially to the word of mouth. Even if the campaign and MP is “done” those modes can still benefit from more time. The fact that Ray tracing is already confirmed as a post launch update shows that the campaign could use more time. There will always be ways to improve the game, especially on a next gen system with more resources. A flagship, tentpole title like Halo has absolutely no excuse not to be a next gen showpiece. People have historically compared 343i unfavorably against Bungie’s efforts and that’s for good reason. During the Halo days, Bungie set the golden standard on packing as many features and content as humanly possible into one package. The value has always been insane and absolutely dwarfed other titles in the genre. This has been one of my biggest criticisms of Bungie after leaving MS with the Destiny titles falling way short of the standards Bungie themselves have created. The same criticisms have been lobbied at 343i for some of the same reasons. Halo 4 chasing the COD crowd, Halo 5 having a mediocre campaign and missing standard features at launch. They have said so many times that they want to respect Halo’s legacy, that Infinite is a love letter to Halo fans, and that they have learned from past mistakes. That talk is cheap if they don’t back it up with their actions.

Again Halo used to be the golden standard of console shooters. 343i have a chance to make this a reality again. Releasing the game in a “good enough” state is not what Halo fans want from Halo Infinite, no matter what those fans are most interested in. They need to release the best Halo game to date, in all ways possible, and then build up from there. Not rely on the BS excuse that the game is a platform, so please be patient as we update the game to the state that it should have and could have been at launch had they only had more time.

I hope so, but ultimately it’s not the kind of thing we can know for sure unless we have access to people who were there. Trying to read the tea leaves doesn’t seem likely to get us accurate info. Perhaps it will come out eventually, or perhaps it won’t, but I am hopeful that it was a more tolerable production environment.

Yeah, agreed. When really have no idea what state the game is in currently and what state the development environment has been in(other than covid related items). Saying they should delay the game based on a single campaign demo seems a bit premature.

It’s fair to say most triple-A games were made under crunch, and it’s fair to say Halo Infinite is one of the many currently in development games that has been hit by COVID-19’s lockdowns and WFH. The exact details are obviously not known at this point.

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